Workflow: It’s Not Just for the Customer

This guest blog was contributed by Brad Roderick | 7/19/13
In the July issue of Workflow magazine, Amy Weiss offers up the best description of “workflow” that I have seen. She describes this emerging business practice as “a concept, one that encompasses any number of topics that include enterprise content management, business process optimization, mobility – all of the tools, software and devices that move information throughout a company.” “Workflow,” content management, business processes, optimization, mobility, tools, information dissemination – all components and tools for moving business forward, and all components and tools for any modern sales leader.

As a sales leader, I admit to a bias. When I am reading information or taking part in just about any conversation, I tend to look for opportunity – whether that is potentially a new piece of business or a new way to further sales effectiveness. It’s part of my hard-wired DNA. Some say it is part of my charm; others call it something different altogether. Yet as a business leader – certainly as a revenue generator – how can you possibly miss the connection of “workflow” being a model for the sales engine?

Under the umbrella of “workflow,” let’s look at some basic components mentioned in the description that are no longer optional – components that are now basic requirements; components that are expected by your sales team, your internal support people and, most importantly, your customers.

Enterprise content management: What are the specific talk tracks, presentations and collateral material you use to help your sales team succeed? Where are they located? How easy are they to access? Can your team access them 24/7? These are the fundamental requirements. They aren’t optional! They have to be there. And then for the big question: How effective is the messaging? Take a few minutes to consider yourself as the recipient of the messaging. Did it grab your attention? Did it validate your claims? Is it helping move you along in the buying process? Does it even make sense?

Business process optimization: What does your sales process look like? Is it defined, or are you still operating in a “winging it” manner? Are there three steps? Five? Seven? Are they defined? Does your entire team understand the process? Do they talk using the language of the process? And the big question here, of course, would be, is your process effective? What’s the latest win-loss score?

Mobility: Your team can interact with customers, you and your organization easily and efficiently, can’t it? Are your reps waiting endless hours for connection with that 1990s VPN? And your customers — they can easily interact with you, your team and your company easily, right? Of course, your Web experience is optimized for mobile viewing and interaction … right? Recently, at 3 a.m. in a hotel, with a Wi-Fi card and VPN, I needed a contract back at the office. Would you like to guess what happened? When it comes to mobility, a simple breakdown in any of the links and the chain no longer pushes the bicycle forward.

Tools and devices: There certainly isn’t any shortage of options when it comes to tools and devices! Have you selected and vetted the right equipment, software, etc., that will actually help you and your reps do their jobs more effectively? What does the team really think about those tools? Are they on the same platform to enable a universal communication experience? You have standardized them, right? Oh, and you do use them, don’t you?

As many of our companies act as pioneers, helping to deliver the message of “workflow” and the promises of customer nirvana, let’s not lose sight of the fact that those same tools we are selling to our customers are the very ones that we need to employ ourselves.

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Brad Roderick is executive vice president of InkCycle Inc. He is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience. He is an active member of the imaging industry as an author, trainer and speaker focusing in the areas of industry trends, strategy, sales and marketing, and environmental sustainability.